Heartbeats are usually affected by atrial fibrillation (AFib), which is an abnormal rhythm or rate of their rhythm. An AFib is caused by an imbalance of signals that causes the two upper chambers of your heart to squeeze out of sync at a high rate. It causes the heart walls to tremble or fibrillate as they contract so quickly. The electrical system of your heart can be damaged, causing AFib. A condition that affects the heart often results in this type of damage. AFib can be caused by other factors in at least one out of every ten cases. The cause of atrial fibrillation sometimes remains a mystery to doctors.
AFib cannot be prevented by knowing what triggers your episodes, even after you are diagnosed with the condition. The most common clinical arrhythmia is the heart arrhythmia known as A-Fib. The prevalence of this disease is estimated at around 3% among people aged 20 or older in Western countries.
A-fib is more common among younger people, although it can also occur in adults. An individual with A-fib may have a higher heart rate than usual, and the heart may be unable to pump blood throughout the body in an efficient manner. The accumulation of blood in the heart increases the risk of clot formation.
How does atrial fibrillation affect the body?
In those with A-fib, symptoms may only occur intermittently, and not everyone will experience symptoms. A fluttering heart is the most common symptom, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). The following symptoms are also possible:
- Feelings of irregular heartbeats or palpitations
- Insufficiency of breath, especially during activity or exercise
- Feelings of discomfort, pain, or pressure in the chest
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting may occur as a result of low blood pressure
- Fatigue in general
- Feelings of insecurity or confusion
Anyone who suffers from these symptoms should keep a record of the frequency and severity of these symptoms regardless of whether they are diagnosed with A-fib.
How is Atrial fibrillation caused?
A-fib occurs when the heart's electrical signals are altered. People of all ages can experience it, but older people are more likely to suffer from it. In addition to these risks:
- The heart can suffer from hypertension if it is sustained for a long period of time.
- Blood clots in the arteries that deliver blood to the lungs are called pulmonary embolisms.
- A-fib is more likely to occur in individuals with underlying heart conditions. A number of conditions contribute to these issues, including heart valve disease, heart failure, and coronary artery disease.
- Although people with regular consumption of alcohol are at the highest risk, even modest amounts of alcohol can trigger some individuals. There are also other toxic drugs that can cause A-fib, such as methamphetamine.
- There is a higher risk of catching A-fib in people with a family history of the condition.
- As a result of sleep apnea, a person may be more likely to develop A-fib, especially if the condition is severe.
- In addition to thyroid problems, asthma, diabetes, and obesity, other chronic conditions can also increase your risk of developing cancer.
Atrial fibrillation: how is it treated?
Patients' ages, lifestyles, heart health, and overall health are considered when deciding the best treatment for A-fib. Patients with heart rhythm problems may only require medications, while others may require surgery. Combining treatments is sometimes recommended by doctors.
The heart rate can be controlled, clots can be prevented, and heart rhythms can be restored by prescription medicines.
Maintaining a healthy heart rate
By bringing a person's heart rate down, heart failure can be prevented and A-fib symptoms reduced. The heart can be slowed down by several medications. The following are examples:
- Atenolol (Tenormin) and metoprolol (Lopressor) are beta-blockers that reduce heart rate
- Verapamil (Verelan) and diltiazem (Cardizem) block calcium channel activity
- There is a decline in the use of digoxin (Lanoxin) by doctors today
Blood thinners, or anticoagulant medications, may be prescribed by your doctor. As a result of these medications, blood clots are more difficult. Bleeding can be increased by taking blood-thinning medications. Blood clot prevention, especially when a person is at risk of stroke, outweighs bleeding risks for most people.
An individual's CHA2DS2-VASc score is used by doctors to determine whether blood thinners are likely to be beneficial. As well as apixaban (Eliquis), rivaroxaban (Xarelto), edoxaban (Lixiana), and dabigatran (Pradaxa), there are other types of blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin, which is less commonly prescribed.
If the person is scheduled for heart surgery because of another condition, doctors sometimes recommend surgical procedures alongside medication. Surgical options include:
An electric shock is administered to the heart by a surgeon in a synchronized fashion. As a result, the irregular rhythm can be reset to a regular one. A transesophageal echocardiogram may be performed prior to cardioversion. In order to produce an image of the heart, a scope is inserted down the throat. As part of the surgery, a surgeon will ensure that the heart is free of clots by performing this procedure. An anticoagulant medication can dissolve clots within several weeks if they are present. Once the clot has dissolved, cardioversion will be possible.
The abnormal rhythm is destroyed by this treatment. Upon recurrence of A-fib, the surgeon may need to undergo this procedure again.
In a type of open-heart surgery called a maze procedure, surgeons can also remove the abnormally rhythming heart tissue.
The purpose of this device is to regulate the heart's regular rhythm. People with intermittent A-fib may have their natural electrical system abated and a pacemaker installed. As a result, the pacemaker ensures that the heart beats regularly.
Atrial fibrillation is a nonmodifiable risk factor due to aging and family history. However, there are many things you can do to lower your risk and maintain a healthy heart. According to the American Heart Association, lifestyle changes can reduce a variety of risks, according to a scientific statement released in 2020.
Maintaining healthy blood pressure and maintaining a healthy diet also reduces the possibility of A-fib. Medical treatment plans from a multidisciplinary perspective are essential, according to the AHA statement as well as other studies. Maintaining moderate body weight, following a nutritious diet, and engaging in regular physical activity are all essential lifestyle rules. In addition, smokers and drinkers can reduce their risk of developing A-fib by quitting or limiting their activities.From the Web